Advanced Television

Boston’s first Next Gen TV station goes live

July 15, 2022

WCRN TV 31 Boston has launched the region’s first ATSC 3.0/Next Gen TV platform. ATSC 3.0 datacasting and the NextGen TV/Radio technical platform is based on Internet Protocol (IP), transforming televisions into web browsers. The service will also offer unlimited encrypted broadcast datacasting services to businesses and first responders.

“NextGen TV is only one tool in the ATSC 3.0 tool chest. With IP Protocol, broadcasters can now deliver public or encrypted video, audio (including radio stations), and datacasting,” said WCRN’s CEO Frank Copsidas. “A broadcaster’s ATSC 3.0 signal can now be divided into different delivery pipes, each with a unique IP delivery protocol for a particular use. It is a new alternative with unique qualities for multiple encrypted data delivery services, depending on the end user’s needs, be it a first responder, remote learning, signage, or a delivery truck.”

On the technical side, a joint project between Ateme, a global provider of video compression and delivery solutions, for the encoder and Enensys Signaling Server (Mediacast) and Broadcast Gateway (SmartGate), global designers and manufacturers of solutions for the broadcast industry for the gateway are deploying a new product using WCRN for field testing. This ATSC 3.0 product is a work in progress and WCRN is utilising its platform to develop uses.

WCRN is working with Hudson, MA-based West Pond Technologies, a specialist in broadcast datacasting, to develop use cases for the ATSC 3.0 signal, from first responders to educational needs, transfer of data to delivery vehicles such as Fedex, to updating digital signage.

“We are excited to have this opportunity to partner with WCRN, field testing our innovative products and developing new uses in our home market of Boston,” said Steve Hastings, president of West Pond Technologies.

Peter Saad, Executive Director of the LPTV (Local Power TV) Broadcasters’ Association, added: “We are thrilled that WCRN in Boston is joining 10 other members of our Association in launching this cutting-edge technology. The broadcast business is transitioning from a programming delivery platform to a data delivery service, given ATSC 3.0’s IP platform. With internet data demand expected to double every year for the next five years, UHF Spectrum is beachfront property and there is only a limited amount available. It is currently the most undervalued asset in the data delivery space.”

ATSC and Broadcast Datacasting is gaining significant traction in the US. The technology was deployed by education institutions throughout the US during the pandemic to deliver classroom instruction via encrypted delivery. First responders see the benefit of encrypted broadcasting, offering a proven and stable platform, turning a dispatch centre to a television control room. On July 4th, encrypted video was deployed for multiple first responder groups in Washington DC.

Hyundai Mobis announced an ATSC 3.0 full entertainment system will be in two 2023 model cars. While the entertainment system will provide live television and an additional option to stream radio stations, the car’s software and navigation systems can be updated by broadcast datacasting, saving the auto manufacturers on update costs.

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